It was a weird debate. You can re-live it in real-time: Just scroll to the bottom, and start reading. But here are a few highlights:
- Nate Silver on who won and lost.
- When the debates start to matter.
- Donald Trump took a weird approach to the minimum wage.
- Interest in Trump has plummeted, according to Google search.
- There were lots of anecdotes!
- John Kasich said stuff.
- We asked our readers which candidate they most often forgot was running, which Republican would do best in the Democratic primary and whether Jeb Bush had stopped the bleeding.
The CNBC moderators caught flack for losing control of their debate last month; tonight’s moderators also struggled to manage their debate. Kasich managed to grab the most speaking slots by just relentlessly interrupting, and although the moderators did cut back on the questions they gave him, he still came out ahead. Last time around, speaking times were more balanced.
In his closing statement, Ben Carson said that since the debate had started, 200 abortions had been performed. That stat caught our ear. Turns out, he’s right. In 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate in the U.S. was 121 per hour, or 242 over the course of the debate.
According to the CDC, there were 730,322 legal abortions in the U.S in 2011. That breaks down to about 83 per hour, or close to 170 for the two-hour debate.
If that phrase that Rand Paul used in criticizing Obama’s energy policy — “all of the above” — sounds familiar, it may be because that’s a phrase that Obama himself is very fond of using. But as the New Republic has pointed out, not all all-of-the-above is created equal. Democrats and Republicans disagree on the mix of energy sources and, crucially, the role of subsidies to incentivize alternative energy. I guess no matter where you draw your line, everything above it is all of the above.
One more note on energy: Republicans love to criticize Obama on energy. And he has made some decisions that are unpopular with the oil and gas industry, most recently his decision last week to block the Keystone XL pipeline. But it’s hard to argue that the industry has suffered too much under Obama. Just look at what’s happened to oil production on his watch:
Rand Paul is right that the U.S. coal industry is struggling. Stricter environmental regulations is one reason for that. But by far the bigger driver has been the fracking boom, which has led to a surge in natural-gas production, cratering prices.
A Pew research study found that in every single one of 40 countries surveyed — including the United States — a majority of people were worried about climate change. But Americans worried less about the impact than Latin Americans or Africans.
The early results from our totally unscientific Twitter poll are in: Jeb Bush did not have a good night.
Marco Rubio says more businesses are closing than opening. That reflects an important but relatively little-known trend: the decline in U.S. entrepreneurship. It’s hard to pin that on any one party’s policies, though. The business startup rate has been falling steadily for some 30 years.
I can’t say whether or not Republicans actually believe that Clinton will be easy to beat. What I do know is that she won’t be easy to beat and neither will her Republican opponent. As Nate and I discussed a week ago, the 2016 general election looks to be a tight one at this point, with perhaps a nominal advantage to the Republicans.
He’s on Cruz control. (Someone had to say it.) He’s doing just fine. A hold.
To be honest, I’m having trouble getting a feel for this debate. Which may reflect my ignorance, or the fact that the candidates have battled themselves mostly to a draw. But the media is undoubtedly going to want to declare winners and losers, and Cruz — having been reasonably sharp and (from the perspective of Republican primary voters) relatively mistake-free — will probably get slotted into the winner category.
I’m certainly not selling. I’m not sure I’m buying. I don’t think, based on tonight’s debate, that I’m selling anyone I wasn’t selling before or buying anyone I wasn’t buying before.
I’ve mostly forgotten about Ted Cruz tonight, but he hasn’t done poorly; in our game of buy/sell/hold, what would you do with his performance tonight?
Ted Cruz initially seemed to say he’d let the big banks fail. That is … not a good idea. There’s plenty of room for debate over the best way to prevent banks from failing or to prevent them from being so big that they pose a threat to the financial system. But if it gets to the point that Bank of America is going under, it’s hard to imagine any president letting it fail outright.
Cruz seems to recognize that. In his follow-up answer, he suggested that the Federal Reserve ought to act as a “lender of last resort” to help save a failing bank. That’s basically a bailout by another name — but also probably a necessary step in a crisis.
In the undercard debate, Christie went at Hillary Clinton the hardest. In the main debate, it’s Bush.
Kasich just scored more interruptions than any candidate has had questions.
This Politico story argues that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is having an effect on massive banks, some of which are preparing to break up investment businesses from banking businesses. As it states:
JPMorgan Chase is selling off a chunk of its private equity business. AIG is contemplating breaking into smaller pieces. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are watching trading profits dwindle with no real clue whether or when they will ever come back. Giant banks including Wells Fargo will now be required to raise about $120 billion in new capital. General Electric is getting out of the financial services business entirely.
I’d love to hear what the candidates thought of that … whether the coming business breakups are going to be finalized and if they are due to pressure from the political left.
There’s a lot of talk about bailing out banks on the Republican and Democratic side. There’s a reason for that: There’s not a lot of confidence in them on either side of the aisle. More Democrats and Republicans have very little confidence in them than a great deal of confidence, according to a June Gallup poll. The 28 percent of Americans who have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in banks is far below the 40 percent historical average.
Jeb Bush is right that the U.S. banking system has become more concentrated since the financial crisis. If the biggest banks were “too big to fail” before the crisis, they certainly are now. But they also have a lot more capital than they did at the time of the crisis — and they’re widely considered more stable than their European counterparts.
I guess I’d differ from Harry. I don’t think this differentiated him on the basis of substance, in part because the candidates (sans perhaps Rand Paul) have had few substantive disagreements. And he isn’t winning this thing on the basis of his personality. I’d definitely like to see how the post-debate spin goes — maybe there’s a constituency out there for a “Bush is alive!” meme — but I don’t think he’s helped himself.
I think Jeb’s performance may have stopped the bleeding, Micah. It wasn’t a home run, but I’d call this a single. The bar is just so low for him, so I feel like he passed the bar. Is that enough? We’ll find out. Bush is pretty deep in the hole.
Has Jeb done anything so far that he could use to turn his campaign around?
Courtesy of Nate Silver’s first-class photoshop skills:
Fiorina, contra Trump’s accusations, hasn’t been as big an interrupter as usual this time around. Kasich still has a big lead, and Fiorina has only spoken out of turn once more than Trump himself.